I was talking with a colleague the other day about her work. I said something like, “You need to establish yourself as the expert that you already are on this topic.” (She really is.)
Her: “I resist calling myself an expert.”
Her: “There's a lot I don't know. I am always learning… (more about how she doesn't know everything about the topic.)”
Me: “Okay. And, why exactly does that fact that you don't know everything there is to know about a topic make you not an expert?”
Her: “I just assume that if someone calls themselves an expert that they know it all – or think they do – about a topic.”
Me: “Does your accountant know everything there is to know about accounting?”
Her: “No. But she knows a hell of a lot more than me, which is why I pay her to handle it.” (lightbulb moment… smile grows on her face.)
You are an expert. Own it.
The thing is, expertise comes from both knowing… and knowing how to find out really fast and quickly. It comes from experience (check it out – they share the same root word: experīrī!) and practice and study.
Want to know if you are an expert? Ask yourself this question: “Can a relatively large number of other people learn good stuff from me on this topic to make their lives significantly better?” If the answer is yes, you are an expert. If it's not, then go get more experience and study then come back to this post again afterward.
But that's just the first step of making expertise work for you.
The World Deserves to Know About Your Expertise.
Now, you've got to let people know that you've got useful information that they can use. Not because you want to be pompous and hoity-toity (I can't believe I just spelled that right – and there is a definition for it!), but because this is how you Contribute to the world in a meaningful way.
So you become a leading-authority. You do this because it's the best way for people to learn that you can help them. You also do it because it's good for your business, of course. Getting clients and customers is what pays your bills, which allows you to keep Contributing meaningfully, which is your responsibility, really.
See how becoming a known leading authority on your topic of expertise is a community service? It's the right thing to do.
Let's talk more about this.
Now let that sink in for a while and I'll put together some posts about how to become a leading authority, okay?